One of Otto Preminger's last films, "Exodus" is an interesting 3.5 hour drama that serves almost as a three dimensional insight into the circumstances that formed the modern Israel, as opposed to sparse, black and white history lessons about the same event. The film actually shows that Israel didn't form overnight, but with a lot of troubles and complications, capturing the status quo situation of Jews in British Palestine, a state before their state was formed. The first half of the film, that plays out in Cyprus, cleverly analyzes how Jews suffered even after the end of World War II since they were citizens without a country - the refugee camps in Cyprus deliberately gained parallels with concentration camps - showing how antisemitism was present in small traces even in British soldiers. Many complained at Paul Newman's portray of Ari Ben Canaan but he pulled his role just right and made a good job out of it, especially in some amusing scenes, like the one where he disguised himself as a British colonel and managed to smuggle the Jewish refugees right in front of British soldiers. The hunger strike on the ship is powerfully presented, but it was a wise choice to end it fairly quickly and not make the whole film out of it.
The second part of the film, playing out in Palestine/Israel, is rather unorganized and leaves an impression as if it's not sure where it's heading. Sal Mineo, who won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar, is very good in his small, sparse role as Holocaust survivor Dov, in one scene painfully admitting how he was "used" just like women in Auschwitz on some occasions, but Jill Haworth is even better. The story engages in realistic observations of the locations at that time; British soldiers and Arabs can be found on every corner, and Jews are settling the land in small communities, but some subplots in that part seem unnecessary no matter how good they are, for instance in the jail break of Irgun member Akiva where a girl smuggled the dynamite in her mouth and gave it to an inmate through a kiss. "Exodus" is slightly overlong, preachy and dry at moments, but it served a nice purpose as being an elaborated history lesson for those who are interested in that area.